Tyrannies across the world are crushing dissent. In Britain contempt for the political class is growing. Is it possible that democracy is dying? By Max Hastings. Daily Mail, June 21, 2013.
When the democratic process isn’t enough. By Rami G. Khouri. The Daily Star (Lebanon), June 26, 2013.
modern prophets prove themselves wise enough to invite comparison with Moses,
but Francis Fukuyama made more of an ass of himself than most.
years ago, the American academic wrote a book entitled The End of History. In it, he announced that with the end of the
Cold War and collapse of Communism, liberal democracy had triumphed. It would
become forever the dominant system around the world, “the final form of human
alternate bouts of flagellation about their country with orgies of
self-congratulation. They loved Fukuyama’s book, which represented them as the
winning side, and bought it in truckloads.
five minutes, it seemed possible that the author’s thesis could be right. In
the Nineties, even Mother Russia, cradle of tyranny, seemed to be embracing
popular consent and freedom.
was the last of the 20th century’s evil “isms” to suffer defeat, after two
world wars in which the democracies battled against militarism, fascism and
. . . .
surviving regimes, notably in China, Vietnam and Cuba, still professed
big beasts in Beijing were as greedy and materialistic as Wall Street bankers.
Only a dwindling band of British university lecturers continued to fool
themselves that Karl Marx was right about mankind’s destiny.
today, barely a generation since the publication of The End of History, its thesis echoes hollow.
communism is a dying duck, everywhere brutal dictatorships are flourishing as
if their societies’ flirtations with democracy had never happened.
Europeans hailed the 2010 “Arab Spring” as promising a new era in the Middle
East. Yet it seems more likely that those nations – Tunisia, Egypt and Libya –
will merely be ruled by new autocrats.
truth is that democracy is ailing – not least here in Britain. Many people
despise and distrust politicians. . . . Modern politics has become meaningless
to most people. It has simply descended into a struggle for power among small
and unrepresentative elites, devoid of convictions or integrity, who ignore or
defy the views of the people who elect them.
. . . .
increasingly embrace capitalist economics, but President Xi Jinping and his
politburo are implacable in denying their people liberty to do anything save
president Vladimir Putin is an unashamed Stalinist. His country is in the hands
of a gangster elite, committed to suppressing dissent and bent upon personal
enrichment. Putin himself is thought to have accrued billions in his personal
. . . .
U.S., sensible people talk and write openly about a democratic crisis. The
bitter divisions between Republicans and Democrats have created gridlock in
both houses of Congress.
willingness to cut deals and make compromises to keep government moving has
become a dead letter.
chunk of the U.S., and especially its old, white, mid-Western, Western and
southern heartland, feels as disenfranchised as do UKIP supporters in Britain.
It sees a host of things being done, or not done, in Washington, which inspires
bitter hostility on religious, economic or social grounds.
U.S. came closest to being a single nation in the Forties and Fifties, partly
as a result of World War II. Today, though, it is profoundly divided, and
likely to remain so, not least as a result of the rise of the Latino
sections of U.S. society want vastly different things for the country; their
political leaders lack the will or gifts to reconcile them. And so too Britain.